Cape Town Hiking
Visitors to Cape Town can hardly miss Table Mountain, lying at the heart of the city and dominating the view for miles around. But it's not the only mountain in Cape Town: the 'Mother City' is not only ringed by mountain ranges but it lies on the Cape Peninsula, 60kms of mountainous, ocean-flanked land - much of which falls under the protection of the Table Mountain National Park - ending only as the cliffs of Cape Point slide into the ocean.
It puts Cape Town right at the epicentre of great hiking country. It's only a short drive to the rugged Hottentot's Holland Mountains, or to the extraordinary floral treasure box that is the Kogelberg Biosphere but you don't even have to go that far: incredible Cape Town hiking experiences are literally on the doorstep.
Table Mountain of course is Cape Town's hiking trump card, but don't be fooled by its benign appearance: Table Mountain hiking is far wilder and more demanding than you might think, and offers visitors the unique experience of wilderness hiking in an urban environment.
Close to Table Mountain is iconic Lion's Head, providing a short, introductory Cape Town hike with great views over the entire city, but it's out of town, heading south, that things start to get really exciting.
Just 40 minutes from Cape Town, the huge Silvermine area offers excellent hiking and some of the best displays of fynbos on the Peninsula. Silvermine hikes range from family rambles to demanding scrambles and the views of both the Atlantic and Indian oceans are astonishing.
It gets wilder and wilder as you go further down the Peninsula - the roller-coaster Kalk Bay and Simons Town mountains provide tough, rewarding hiking but the terrain is mostly flat around the Red Hill area which is good news for people who want a Cape Town hiking experience but without the uphill.
And then of course there is Cape Point hiking. With both an Atlantic and an Indian Ocean coastline, you'd expect both drama and diversity - and you'd be right. The Indian Ocean side is spectacularly mountainous while the Atlantic coast is dominated by long, footprint-free beaches and rolling dunes. Hiking paths criss-cross the reserve, which contains more species of plant than the British Isles, and Cape Point remains the best place on the Peninsula to see big game - ostrich, eland, bontebok, baboon and mountain zebra are often spotted.
Diverse, sometimes demanding, always amazing - that's Cape Town hiking.